Whether you are working with an Accountant or Agent, or going it alone, it is important you get ready for tax time. And while the latest ATO electronic lodgement system pre-fills some information, you need to be able to verify this information and support your deductions.

Here are some key steps to getting tax time ready:

1. Get your basic information together

  • Tax File Number
  • Bank Account Details
  • Medicare Card
  • Health Insurance Details

2. Decide how you will lodge your return and make a plan

If you will lodge your return with the help of your Accountant or a Tax Agent, now is the time to make that appointment and get the ball rolling! Working with an expert can help give you confidence you’re both compliant and maximising your return.

If you are going to lodge it yourself using myTax be sure to familiarise yourself with the instructions and details of eligible expense claims.

3. Document your earnings

  • Are you an Employee? Your employer is required to provide you with a PAYG Payment Summary by the 14th July (though some issue them much sooner).
  • Are you Self-employed? Work with your bookkeeper and/or accountant to establish your earnings.
  • Do you have investments? You will need to gather information about any shares, managed funds, interest on bank accounts, or other investments.

4. Collate your receipts (& documentation for other expenses)

  • Get your receipts together! If you haven’t been using an electronic system to manage your receipts, make sure you spend time now to collate them to support your claims. (Apps such as ATO, ReceiptBank, etc can make this an easier process next financial year.)
  • Consider your work-related expenses such as uniforms, training and what you can claim for working from home. Some of these may require records such as timesheets, invoices, or other documentation.
  • Check your work-related travel records. We might not have been able to travel nearly as much as previous years, but don’t forget what work-related travel did happen.
  • Are you self-employed? Work with your bookkeeper and/or accountant to assess your business expenses.

5. Gather additional information

  • Do you have a partner? If so, what is their taxable income?
  • If you pay child support, how much did you pay this financial year?
  • Do you own a rental property? You will need to collate information on rent received, interest paid on the mortgage and any other property related expenses (check for receipts!)

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Sources and helpful links:
1. www.ato.gov.au/individuals/tax-return/2013/completing-your-return/helpful-information-about-tax-returns/tax-time-checklist/
2. www.ato.gov.au/tax-professionals/prepare-and-lodge/in-detail/tax-time-toolkits
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